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Airplane crash kills pilot near Steamboat Rock

Updated, Sunday, May 25, 9:30 a.m.


Scott Hunter

Emergency workers speak with Grant County Sheriff deputies following the death of a pilot on Banks Lake.

An airplane accident has killed a man on Banks Lake near Steamboat Rock.

Kenneth A. Berger, 60, of Monroe, Wash. had already put down his Searay amphibious plane at about 5 p.m., witnesses said. They said he apparently was trying to take off again, when the plane flipped over forward into the water, witnesses said.

Nearby boaters got to the craft, and two women at the Northrup Point boat launch said they had been approaching to offer CPR but were turned back by men who had recovered the pilot from underwater and said he was already dead with an obvious head injury.

Boaters reportedly dove under the water to get the pilot out of the plane.

They got him to a waiting ambulance at the boat launch.

Witnesses told sheriff’s deputies the plane had attempted to take off but struck a wave, then the nose of the aircraft hit the water, Grant County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Kyle Foreman said.

The plane eventually sunk in about 50 feet of water.

Federal Aviation Administration personnel are expected to investigate today. The county coroner staff will perform an autopsy.


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